What’s it like to be a speech-language pathologist?  Well, it’s the month of May.  For some, it’s merely the fifth month of the year.  For us as SLPs, we are in the thick of it.  Evaluations and reports are amping up, timelines are getting much too short, sweat stains are making repeated appearances and our human (and SLP) reserves are running low.  So today, friends, I am thinking about you.

You want to be an SLP.The Good.

You chose to be a speech-language pathologist for an important reason.  So, why did you do it?  Maria said, “I am a speech pathologist because I want to empower others–so that they can ultimately empower themselves using their words and others’ words as tools for their learning and growth.”  Scott said, ” I am energized that I did some good, connected with someone, and pulled them forward.”  Alisa’s SLP why began with her own narrative. “Moving to the US as a child, and growing up in a bilingual/bicultural home, I realized I wanted to use the languages that I know to help children with language disorders and be able to support them in their native tongue.”  There are many reasons, and they are all honored.  What is your SLP Why?

The Hard.

Here’s the thing.  You can love, love, love your job and fully acknowledge that there are some really tough days.  Truth be told, these days happen often.

There are days when I leave work crying.

There are days when the paperwork is stacked so high.

There are days when my student did not make progress.

There are days when I spend hours in the evening writing a report.

There are days when I don’t feel smart enough.

The Reason.

Then, I remember.  I remember all of those faces.  I remember John.  I met him in graduate school as a fourth grader, and I served him for two years.  I still keep in touch with his family.  I remember Jessie.  I worked with him for four years on his narrative and conversational skills.  On our final session, we talked and laughed about everything and nothing–it was lovely and meaningful.  I remember Mary*.  We worked on her thoughts and feelings about stuttering.  When it was time to work on her career project, I expected her to do her research on being a basketball player.  She shook her head.  “What are you going to be then?” I asked.  ” “You. I want to be you. I want to empower people.”

To be a speech-language pathologist is to make a difference.  We make a meaningful difference.  So, now, sit back and listen to some mediocre raps.  This was written with SLP-love and admiration.  This moment is sponsored by the Letter B.  So, SLPs, drop me a Beat.


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